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Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world's leading thinkers

in place of prejudice
In Place of Prejudice
Can rationality provide a basis for morality?

In a secular age morality is very much alive and kicking. Yet without divine authority, morality risks being wheeled out in support of convictions, prejudices and favoured institutions. Can rationality or transcendental values put morality on a firmer footing? Or is there a case for abandoning talk of morality altogether?
fantasy living
Fantasy Living
Are we happy with reality?

Our lives are full of parties and events, and our relationships idyllic. At least that's how it so often appears on Facebook. Would we be happier abandoning this pretence, sticking to reality and freeing ourselves from impossible ideals? Or do we need the fantasies of life and love to help us create the realities we want?
life the universe and everything 1
Life, the Universe and Everything
Is reality beyond reach?
Is reality beyond reach?

Philosophers have always sought grand theories to explain the world's mystery. And Stephen Hawking once predicted that science would have its own Theory of Everything by 2000. Yet we are no closer to an answer. Are we necessarily limited and reality beyond reach or is a solution just round the corner?
being certain 2
Being Certain
Are convictions dangerous?
being certain 2
Categories: Ideas & Ideology
Speakers: Julian Baggini, Andrew Bowie, Edwina Currie
Are convictions dangerous?

From Galileo to Mandela, history is made by those with strong convictions. Yet as Nietzsche argued and Islamic State attest, those most convinced of their righteousness are often the most dangerous. Should politicians and the rest of us avoid convictions and see them as dangerous fantasies, or is conviction essential to leadership and action?
the dance of time
The Dance of Time
the dance of time
Speakers: Julian Barbour, Joseph Diekemper, Joanna Kavenna
Is the present an illusion?

Since we can't directly access the past or the future, the present seems to be all we've got. Yet Derrida denied the existence of the present. And physicists argue the present has no special status. Is the present an illusion? Or do we find in the present everything that is of value?
the really real
The Really Real
the really real
Categories: Culture & Sexuality
Speakers: Simon Blackburn, Phillip Blond, Myriam Francois-Cerrah
Is absolute right and wrong a fantasy?

Different cultures see the world differently and cultural relativism is a widely accepted outlook. Yet faced with beheadings most of us want to assert that we know what is right and wrong. Do we need a new objectivity to combat the world's evils, or should we give up on the really real as a cultural fantasy?
democracy freedom
Democracy, Freedom and Choice
democracy freedom
Categories: Ideas & Ideology
Speakers: Julian Le Grand
Democracy, Freedom and Choice

Does the state save us from ouselves? Senior policy advisor to Tony Blair contemplates the limits of choice.
ideology nad the east
Ideology and the East
ideology nad the east
Categories: Ethics & Religion
Speakers: Myriam Francois-Cerrah
Ideology and the East

Are the idealogies of the West distorting the portrayal of the violence of ISIS? Is Islam really the root of the problem? Myriam Francois-Cerrah argues that the terror in the East has little to do with religion.
forgetting to be me2
Forgetting to Be Me
forgetting to be me2
Categories: Mind & Reason
Speakers: Margaret Heffernan, Angie Hobbs, Mark Rowlands
Is true memory a fantasy?

Memory forms the very fabric of our selves. Yet we forget vastly more than we remember, and we embellish until we no longer trust our own minds. Should we accept that true memory is a fantasy? Does this risk chaos in our courts or liberate us to think ourselves and our culture anew?
austenvwoolf
Austen vs Woolf
austenvwoolf
Categories: Narrative & Reality
Speakers: Malcolm Guite, Doon Mackichan, Frances Spalding
The female fantasy

Jane Austen's wickedly satirical heroines have shaped our idea of romantic love. Yet for a close-up into the psyche Woolf is unrivalled. Whose view of womanhood was more real? Do Woolf's heroines reveal more about what it means to be a woman than Austen's manor-born maidens? You decide.
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